Making Heating Elements work through Gr37 Flap Valves

edited April 2019 in General

Hi - Does anyone have any knowledge about Gr37 Flap Valves please?

I've settled on the Speidel FO tanks for fermentation in my distillery configuration.

I'm thinking of using the Gr37 Flap Valve in order to use a rouser for mixing in the molasses, then at the end I can use the valve to fit a racking arm. So I'll only need 1 rouser and 1 racking arm irrespective of how many vessels I have because the flap valve allows insertion and removal of tools whilst the vessel is full of liquid. I also want to be able to heat the wash. I have found "wine makers" elements (1KW) which come with a thermostat built in to the element and fit to the Gr37 flap valve. These are expensive however, and I'd prefer to use 5KW boiler elements (e.g. Camco), initially at full power to heat the water in the fermenter, and then in a secondary phase having it pegged back to 1KW to keep the rum wash at a good working temperature (with a PID controller controlling the switching on/off of that 1KW power).

I'm aware we normally require tri-clamp fitting with an appropriate element guard for fitting of these elements, but can they be made to fit a Gr37 flap valve too? If so, I've got a solution for the fermentation piece :-) ...


  • Electric elements and molasses that has not been thoroughly mixed, settled, and had the sugars fermented out is a recipe for disaster... your plan to mix/settle, and ferment in the same container will not make a good product... there will be sediment in all but the most expensive molasses that you have to rack off of to another container to remove.

    If you have a Letina or Speidel tank and try to pull out an element while full, even with a flap valve, you are in for far more hours of cleaning than transferring to a new container...

  • @CothermanDistilling - thanks for your helpful comments. I guess I was trying to find a way to quickly and easily heat water to the fermentation temperature (allowing for the cooling effect of the room temperature molasses). Some people have suggested using the Still boiler, but I don't have a Still large enough yet. I need to get through the HMRC registration before I commit to too much capital spend. Also as I get more fermenters I don't want to tie up the Still as an over-qualified water heater. That was my driver for "in-fermenter" primary heating for the fermentation water.

    How do most distilleries heat water for fermentation purposes? I haven't been too keen to go for an industrial water heater (1000L plus), because whatever size I go for will either be too large for current needs, or will not be large enough when fermenters are expanded. (UK water is cold, even in summer).

  • Why not use a tankless water heater?

  • How hot do you need to get to, and what is the volume? The existing hot water heater in your space won't suffice?

  • Look up homebrew rims tubes..

    might not be for you, it is kind of loud on the ears, but I use steam injection, 16.5kW heats 200KG molasses to 180 for sterilization in 40 minutes, I do 2 containers for 400KG... I let each steep at that temp for an hour to kill microbes, then pump into a 660L Letina/Speidel and add water and settle for 24 hours before racking to fermenter:

  • Thanks guys - some really good leads for me :-)

    Hmm tankless water heater might work depending on the flow.

    I'm planning to launch the business at up to 1000L.

    The molasses I'm using is smooth as silk - very good food grade - so I haven't had to do anything other than mix with water, add nutrition, adjust pH, check temp, pitch re-hydrated yeast. I'm aiming to pitch in the range 30 to 40 degC, which means that by the time I've heated the water in a separate vessel, I'm looking to heat the water to around 45 to 50 degC. I haven't heard of homebrew rims tubes. Will check them out - really good video @CothermanDistilling - thanks

  • Re: the above - I forgot to mention I'm adjusting pH due to addition of dunder!

  • edited April 2019

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